Websites are supposed to be simple and user-friendly, but sometimes this is not the case. When it comes to website design, they aren’t designed with ease of accessibility in mind so that anyone with a disability can use them or navigate. Over a billion people in the world lives with a disability of some sort. By enhancing the accessibility of your website, the creators can make it more usable for anyone, whether they are managing with a permanent disability, temporary disability, or even a situational disability. In this way, you expand your potential audience reach, ensuring you don’t seclude any user or potential customer. Here are five amazing ways to make your website more accessible.
1. Make the Navigation Easy
Every user should be able to clearly and logically navigate the website content. But, not everyone can use a mouse or trackpad. Assistive technologies can help people with disabilities access websites, helping to ensure the information and functionality. A few people use a keyboard, single-switch input, mouth sticks, a typing stick, page turner, or screen readers. Neglect elements that only activate when a user suspends over items with a mouse because keyboard-only users or screen readers often aren’t able to access them. Easily test your site by trying to navigate it without a mouse.
2. Add Alt Text to all Images
One of the best ways to ensure your website is more accessible for screen readers is to add alt text to all of your images. Alt text is a short description of the image, such as “A Kid with glasses working on his laptop in a busy coffee shop”. Most users never see the brief descriptions, but screen readers rely on them. A screen reader is a form of assistive technology that is used by people who are blind or visually impaired. A good alt text contains the message you wish to convey through the image and it should be fairly descriptive. This is important for content such as chart and infographics. If there is text included within the image, that text should also be included in the alt format.
3. Improve Color Choices
Using colors is a critical but sometimes overlooked element of a website. Different people perceive colors in unique ways, so your site won’t look the same to everyone. Color blindness is a common disability. It is better to design websites using a high color contrast and extra methods than color alone for hyperlinks, such as bold or underlined text. Call-to-action buttons on websites are highlighted by bright colors. Most people don’t check the entire website, so if the call-to-action button is in a color range someone struggles to see, then there is a chance you might miss a sale.
4. Don’t Use Auto-playing Media
Stop using media elements that start without the user first prompting them. It can be frustrating for people when they visit a page and it starts blasting noise. While most of the people quickly turn off the distraction, those reliant on assistive technology may not be able to turn it off very easily. Figuring out how to turn off the media can be especially difficult when using a screen reader. The developers have to remember to ensure proper accessibility.
5. Give the Links Unique and Descriptive Names
To make the website more ADA-friendly, use text that properly describes where your link will go. For instance, using “Click Here” isn’t very descriptive. But it’s ineffective for a screen reader user who may not read the link within the context of the rest of the page. You should be more specific, such as “Read About Us” rather than simply “Read More.” That’s much easier for visitors using speech recognition software to follow.